Monday, November 25, 2013

Weekly Highlights: Cooperation Needed to End Violence Against Women of Burma

 

18-24 November

 

Weekly Highlights

Cooperation Needed to End Violence Against Women of Burma

To mark 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 27 civil society organizations have come together to launch 16 days of action that will end on 10 December, International Human Rights Day. The campaign began with a public ceremony in Rangoon on 24 November that included games, music and other performances. Women's groups called for cooperation from all people of Burma to help end all forms of violence against women by participating in a "white campaign", wearing white shirts or accessories during the 16 days to raise awareness about the problem of violence against women.

In a Burmese-language statement, the Women's League of Burma called for the people of Burma to work together to reduce the role of the military in the governance of the country and achieve sustainable peace. The statement outlined the many different forms of violence that women face on a daily basis: physical, mental, sexual, domestic and community violence, as well as violence carried out by the Burma Army, especially in ethnic nationality areas.

Civil society groups have documented the harrowing extent of human rights violations and violence against women in areas of ongoing armed conflict. The Kachin Women's Association – Thailand (KWAT) found that there have been 64 cases of rape committed by Burma Army troops since fighting resumed between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in June 2011. Such acts of sexual violence and rape against Kachin women continue even as peace talks are underway between the government and the Kachin Independence Organization, undermining the peace process. Additionally, the displacement of over 100,000 people due to the fighting in the last two years, lack of protection for internally displaced persons and shortages of humanitarian aid have become significant new push factor fuelling the trafficking of Kachin women to China, exacerbating an already long-standing problem. In the report "Pushed to the Brink," KWAT documented 24 cases of actual or suspected trafficking since June 2011.

In conflict areas where the Palaung people live in southern Kachin State and northern Shan State, women have been raped, and young girls forced at gunpoint to guide and porter for Burma Army troops. Villagers have been killed by landmines while being forced to work as porters. The situation of Palaung women was further highlighted in a Burmese–language statement by the Ta'ang Women's Organization.

For women and girls in ethnic nationality areas to live in safety, there must be an immediate cessation of armed conflict, withdrawal of troops and a drastic change in military policies. Women's participation in the peace process is crucial to ensure that women and girls are protected. As outlined in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, women play an important part in all aspects of conflict prevention, management and resolution, includingorganizing for peace, rehabilitation, reintegration and reconstruction.

All women and girls must have adequate means to justice for past violations and must be legally protected from future violence. As such, the 2008 Constitution and all relevant national legislation must be reviewed and amended in accordance with the Convention on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in order to provide the much-needed protection for the women and girls of Burma.

 

News Highlights

Police threaten to sue farmers for last week's violent clashes near Chinese-backed Letpadaung Copper Mine in Sagaing Region although police remove guard posts to appease residents, journalists report harassment from police and criticize state-owned Myanma Alin newspaper for its report of the incident, while villagers mark anniversary of bloody crackdown on protesters and monks last year

Rangoon court sentences 6 activists under Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law for protesting against the police crackdown on Letpadaung Copper Mine protesters and monks

 

Inside Burma

NLD's Naypyidaw poll goes ahead with 88% supporting amending the 2008 Constitution; Daw Aung San Suu Kyi claims it is critical for Burma's future and slams those with "phoney smiles" who oppose it yet insists that amendments are not intended to reduce military power

Political parties prepare to submit proposals for constitutional reform to the Constitution Review Joint Committee

MPs criticize government's response to energy crisis following protests against plans to raise tariffs

Parliament approves a proposal to give US$5,000 to each MP for education, health and transport development projects in their constituencies

Rule of Law Committee will begin observing and inspecting the offices of police chiefs, general administration departments and township police stations on orders from President Thein Sein

Farmland Investigation Commission opens inquests into cases of land confiscation under the military regime

Public Service Media Law is unlikely to be passed before 2015 elections, says Information Minister Aung Kyi

All Mon Region Democracy Party and Mon Democracy Party agree to merge

Shan Nationalities League for Democracy and Shan Nationalities Democratic Party propose merger while Shan conference opts for a federal structure both inside and outside the state

Clashes continue between the Burma Army and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in southern Kachin State causing more than 2,000 internally displaced people to flee

KIA Deputy Chief of Staff, General Sumlut Gun Maw, addresses a packed crowd in Rangoon

Burma Army launches attacks against the Ta'ang National Liberation Army in northern Shan State

The New Mon State Party rejects the government's proposed nationwide ceasefire accord

Police arrest at least 12 people in connection with the separate murders of two young girls in Arakan State

Buddhist mob damages a mosque in Kyaukphyu, Arakan State and three Arakan Buddhists are arrested for attempting to bomb mosques in Rangoon

 

Regional

Operation of the Shwe Gas and Oil Pipeline to be delayed as the planned construction of an oil refinery in China could be cancelled due to public opposition

Italian-Thai Development is ditched as Thailand and Burma take over the Tavoy development zone

 

International

UN General Assembly's Human Rights Committee passes resolution urging Burma to allow stateless Muslim Rohingyas equal access to citizenship, calls on Burma to stick to its promise to release all political prisoners by year's end and criticizes Burma for human rights abuses; Presidential spokesperson, Ye Htut, calls on the UN to respect Burma's sovereignty and rejects the term Rohingya

UN calls for an "immediate cessation of hostilities" to allow humanitarian access to displaced persons in Kachin State

US pledges to provide US$25 million in aid to address the humanitarian crisis faced by displaced persons in Arakan, Kachin, Karen and Mon States

Burma and Russia to cooperate on military technology and strengthen relations between their armed forces

International Federation of Journalists calls for a media environment without censorship and for journalists to be included in drafting new media legislation

 

Opinion

Burma Begins to Bloom
By Benedict Rogers
The Wall Street Journal

Resolving Sectarian Violence in Burma
By Nehginpao Kipgen
The Daily Star

Latest from the Blog

 

Modern Slavery in Rangoon's Industrial Zones

By Burma Partnership 

 

Actions

Burma's youth promote UNICEF's "Peace Not Violence" campaign

Statements and Press Releases

Message for International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
By Karen Women Organization

Human Rights Defenders Messrs Moe Thway and D Nyein Lin Receive Prison Sentence Along with Four Other Peaceful Protesters
By Front Line Defenders

Myanmar LGBT Rights Network Joins Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Calling for the Decriminalization of Homosexuality in Myanmar
By Myanmar LGBT Rights Network

Free All Human Rights Defenders and Stop Ongoing Arbitrary Arrests
By Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Resolution to End Persecution of the Rohingya in Burma Introduced
By Physicians for Human Rights and Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK

ႏုိင္ငံတကာအမ်ဳိးသမီးမ်ားအေပၚ အၾကမ္းဖက္မႈ ရပ္တန္႔ေရးေန႔ အထိမ္းအမွတ္ ထုတ္ျပန္ေၾကညာခ်က္
By Ta'ang Women's Organization

UN General Assembly Third Committee's Resolution on Burma
By UN General Assembly Third Committee

WCRP Releases "Children for Hire" to Mark Universal Children's Day
By Woman and Child Rights Project

ႏိုုင္ငံတကာအမ်ဳိးသမီးမ်ားအေပၚ အၾကမ္းဖက္မႈပေပ်ာက္ေရးေန ့ အထိမ္းအမွတ္ထုတ္ျပန္ေၾကညာခ်က္
By Women's League of Burma

Reports

Children for Hire: A Portrait of Child Labor in Mon Areas
By Woman and Child Rights Project

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